With the albatross around Marvel Studios neck’s that is the Ant-Man fiasco, getting some definite news about a new project and director is means to celebrate. Long time fan favorite Doctor Strange just found its director in Scott Derrickson; and whereas this might seem like nothing more than a shiny distraction from Marvel Studios to take your mind off Ant-Man’s director search, don’t take this film lightly. Doctor Strange is no shiny trinket, but rather a film that will take the Marvel Cinematic Universe to brand new heights. So let’s break it down; find out why this film news is so exciting; and find out whom Marvel is eyeing for the role of the good Doctor himself.
Who is Doctor Strange?:
If you thought Ironman had his demons, you haven’t seen anything yet! Much like his fellow goatee’d Avenger, Stephen Strange has a pretty dark past filled with egocentrism. Though the specifics of the origin stories differ from time to time, Stephen Strange was at one time a brilliant neurosurgeon who cared more about paychecks and notoriety than a patient’s well being.
This all changed when he lost the use of his hands in a car accident. After this, Strange spent his entire fortune researching a way to regain his miracle-working hands, but to no avail. He eventually found his way to Tibet to learn mysticism. Eventually Stephen sees the errors of his past and becomes the new Sorcerer Supreme, a being of untold magical powers tasked with protecting this realm from all malicious and supernatural threats.
So who will portray this complex and pivotal character? Well right now Marvel is looking at Jared Leto of all people; and although I’m not too familiar with Leto’s work, I can see him pulling it off nicely. Again, nothing is official yet; but Strange is a complex character. The actor will need to be a selfish jerk initially, but the real part of Strange he’ll have to nail is his wisdom, patience and understanding. From what I’ve seen of Leto, he gives off a humble and heartfelt vibe. After starting a great career in acting, he decided to take 5 years off in order to tour with his band, which ended with him setting the World Record for longest tour (two and a half years). As an added bonus he even sort of looks like the role. From the goatee and long hair to the blue eyes, he just gives off the vibe of a magician who understands more than you can ever comprehend.
Movie Connections – Past, Present and Future
Back in Thor, we got a veiled hint that Doctor Strange would indeed be coming sooner or later. During the famous raid on Odin’s Vault that revealed Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet, we also saw what many fans pointed out as The Orb of Agamotto, which is one of Doctor Strange’s most famous mystical items. Now I have to hand it to the fans who pointed this out way back when because I would have never spotted this; and lets face it, this was a really blink-and-miss hint. Thankfully a much more apparent hint came earlier this year.
Recently in Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier, we received a full on name drop to Stephen Strange when Agent Sitwell was confessing Hydra’s plan to eliminate anyone who posed a threat to Hydra. This tells us that the good Doctor is indeed on the radar. Whether he already has his powers or they just have him under surveillance – since in the comics Strange’s potential to become Sorcerer Supreme was already known by a few mystics – remains to be seen.
As for what role Doctor Strange will play in the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s going to be big. Having a title film aside, he’ll be a powerful addition to the Avengers, which they will need if they are going to face Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet in Avengers 3. He’s also important considering there are some storylines that involve him defeating Death herself, the woman Thanos is so enamored by. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is getting bigger – especially with Guardians of the Galaxy due out in a few weeks – and Doctor Strange will help to expand that universe even further into the mystical and the occult, places that even space travel can’t explain away.
Now selecting Scott Derrickson could seem like a regular, run-of-the-mill directing choice; but it’s actually a brilliant choice if you think about Derrickson’s usual film genre. Scott Derrickson is most know for directing films like Sinister, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, the upcoming Deliver Us From Evil – notice a similarity? The majority of his films focus on demons and possession, which is right up Doctor Strange’s alley. The way I see it, this film will obviously have a darker subject matter than past MCU films; and with Derrickson directing the feel of this film will be darker as well.
Now I’m not a fan of possession movies, but I think Doctor Strange will have the right balance of dark and heroic. Sure there’ll be dark forces that can creep you out, but in the end there is an all-powerful sorcerer on our side. Most movies of this kind end in one or all of the cast dying or evil basically winning in the end in some way shape or form. This time around, it is good that will triumph.
At this stage in the game, I would just push the Ant-Man movie back. Any director that picks up for it will at best get little credit for finishing another mans work or get criticized for ‘ruining it’. The risk is high, the reward little, and the time frame too short. Their best bet is to shelf the film for a while in favor of concentrating on their other projects – especially the other Phase Three films.
With Doctor Strange in the works – and Black Panther hopefully following closely behind – , Marvel is already cultivating their new franchise goldmines as older franchises slow – ie: Ironman unless Robert Downey Jr signs for another set of films beyond Avengers. Marvel Studios has done amazing thus far; and at the end of the day I’m sure they’ll make the right call in regards to their films. Some things are meant to be; and others are meant to fall apart so better things can be built in their wake. Which one Ant-Man is remains to be seen; but Doctor Strange has everything it takes to become Marvel Studio’s next big thing.